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Roman Standards

Roman Standards

Many armies carry standards into battle in most fantasy settings. It makes it easier for commanders to figure out where their troops are, and also gives the troops a point to rally towards and keep themselves from becoming completely lost in the confusion of warfare.

Standards see a lot of use in Warhammer miniature play, but not enough use in most of my D&D games. One of the things I love about the Arcanis setting from Paradigm Concepts is the Coryani Empire, which is basically a fantasy version of the legendary period of the Roman Empire – military standards and all.

However, standards can also be useful for an adventuring party, particularly one that has many henchmen or retainers. A good banner can raise morale (or lower it if fallen or captured) as well as providing a rallying point should morale break.

In game terms for Labyrinth Lord or B/X Dungeons & Dragons, a standard is treated as a staff – it can be held in one hand, but requires two if you are trying to use it as a weapon (not a great idea, they are awkward and thus only deal 1d6 damage). Typically it is held in the off-hand instead of a shield. Anyone who serves under a banner gains a +1 bonus to morale when they can see it, but also suffer a -2 penalty to morale if they see it fall.

There are, of course, many varieties of banners and standards – crack out those d12s to find out more.

Random Standard Type (d12)

  1. Animal
  2. Symbol
  3. Banner
  4. Animal and Symbol
  5. Animal and Banner
  6. Symbol and Banner
  7. Animal, Symbol and Banner
  8. Two Symbols
  9. Two Symbols and Banner
  10. d4+1 Symbols
  11. d4+1 Symbols and Banner
  12. Animal and d4+1 Symbols
Roman Military Standards

Roman Military Standards

Animal Type (d12)

  1. Eagle
  2. Phoenix
  3. Dragon
  4. Hydra
  5. Horse
  6. Unicorn
  7. Pegasus
  8. Lion
  9. Serpent
  10. Griffon
  11. Horse
  12. Roll for Wandering Monster

Symbol Type (d12)

  1. Wreath
  2. Number (roll d12)
  3. Number (roll d100)
  4. Eye
  5. Hand, Open
  6. Hand, Grasping
  7. Sunburst
  8. Weapon
  9. Heraldric Shield
  10. Arcane Symbol
  11. Holy Symbol
  12. Structure (Castle, Temple, etc)

Banner Type (d12)

  1. Roll on Symbol Table
  2. Roll twice on Symbol Table
  3. Roll thrice on Symbol Table
  4. Roll on Animal Table
  5. Roll on Animal Table and Symbol Table
  6. Profile of a great leader
  7. Profile of a deity
  8. Stylized map of a country, county or region
  9. Skull
  10. Crown
  11. Flames
  12. Wave

Only roll on the next table if you want a magic item. Most standards are non-magical, but some ancient standards have served armies over the ages and have been imbued with great powers.

Magical Standards (d12)

  1. Casts bless 1d3/day
  2. Casts remove fear 1d3/day
  3. Casts bane (reverse of bless) 1d3/day
  4. Glows with continual light only when held aloft
  5. Grants +2 bonus on attempts to turn undead by the bearer
  6. Grants +1 Charisma to the bearer
  7. Bearer is protected by a shield spell at all times
  8. Casts protection from evil 10′ radius 1d2/day
  9. Grants protection from evil to bearer
  10. Roll as a random wand
  11. Roll as a random staff
  12. Roll again twice